The route of the first-ever La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es, revealed on February 28th in Torrevieja, tips its hat many times to the history of road cycling in Spain. Riders will perform over roads that have already showcased some unforgettable moments of the men’s La Vuelta: its most-featured mountaintop finish, one of its fastest-ever stages and also one of the longest!
The city of Torrevieja, located in the Alicante region, will be the starting point for this inaugural edition of La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es. It also held the kick-off of La Vuelta 19 only four years ago with a team time trial. That day, the TTT rolled from the scenic Salinas de Torrevieja (its iconic natural salt pit) to the city’s harbour. On May 1st, the best women’s teams in the world are facing a course that will run in the innermost parts of Torrevieja to later finish right beside the beach. It is an excellent way to showcase the home city of Sandra Alonso, one of the current top Spanish riders.
La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es will stay in Alicante for its second stage between Orihuela and Pilar de la Horadada. The former has amongst its neighbours one of Spanish cycling’s most-celebrated riders, Bernardo Ruiz. Currently 98-years-old, he is one of La Vuelta’s youngest-ever winners. He was 23 when he claimed the 1948 edition of the event. As for Pilar de la Horadada, it is a quite remarkable tourist destination, as proven by the blue flags that wave proudly on six different beaches in its territory.
Like Pilar de la Horadada, Elche de la Sierra is featuring for the first time as a host for La Vuelta and La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es. It’s here that the women’s peloton will begin the way to La Roda on the race’s longest stage, with as much as 148,2 kilometres on the menu. Coincidentally, La Roda also held the start of La Vuelta’s longest-stage to date since 1999: a 233-kilometre journey to Fuenlabrada, where Marcel Wüst won from a mass sprint.
If La Roda was the starting point for the longest stage in La Vuelta’s modern history, Guadalajara did host one of the fastest. It was back in 2019 when a 219,6-kilometre stage from Aranda de Duero to the capital of the Alcarria region was covered in a mere 4 hours and 20 minutes by Philippe Gilbert – at an average speed of 50,6 kph! No stage in the last 20 editions of La Vuelta has been as fast as this one. La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es’s fourth stage, though, is set between Cuenca and Guadalajara over a hillier course – particularly on its closing section, with the summit of the Alto del Horche located just 12 kilometres from the finish line. This is quite a similar course to the one that the men’s peloton faced at La Vuelta 2001, on which Guido Trentin triumphed from a breakaway.
On its fifth day, La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es will start and finish in two locations that have never before been used in La Vuelta, as it covers 129,2 kilometres from La Cabrera to the Mirador de Peñas Llanas. This summit, though, is on the outskirts of Riaza, a small village that welcomed the men’s peloton in the 2015 edition of the Spanish Grand Tour. That day, Nicolas Roche beat Haimar Zubeldia in a two-up sprint after a demanding (and entertaining) hilly day.
For its second-to-last stage, La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es will move to Cantabria. This is the region on which the last edition of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta started last September. The second stage of that event included the Alto de Fuente las Varas, on which Annemiek van Vleuten launched her race-winning attack. This very climb is due to be crested on May 6th, 64 kilometres from the start in Castro Urdiales and with 43 kilometres left to reach Laredo. Just a handful of kilometres from the finish line is Ampuero, the birthplace of Mercedes Ateca – the pioneer of Spanish women’s cycling. She was the first-ever Spanish female rider to take part in a foreign international event back in 1978 and was crowned the country’s first national champion one year later.
The final stage of La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es will be quite a mountain thriller in Asturias, between Pola de Siero and the Lagos de Covadonga. The latter is the most-featured mountaintop finish in La Vuelta’s history, as it has been visited 22 times by the peloton of the Spanish Grand Tour since it was first showcased in 1983.
For more information about La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour.es: www.lavueltafemenina.es